Forest fire from across LoC triggers landmine blasts in J&K’s Poonch

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Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): A massive fire engulfed a large forest stretch at Mendhar, Balakote and Mankote sectors in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district along the Line of Control (LoC) today, triggering landmine blasts in the area, officials said.

They said that the fire started from the Mankote area of Mendhar and Balakote sectors along LoC and spread gradually into the Indian Territory.

As per officials, in order to push militants across the Line of Control, Pakistan resorts to setting forest area at the LoC on fire. “This is just to help militants sneak in,” they said. The fire had damaged trees and bushes in a vast area in Balakote, Mendhar and Mankote areas, officials said.

This is the second incident in the area this year. On May 28 this year, huge forest fire took place in Mendhar and Balakote areas which triggered a series of landmine blasts, planted by both Indian and Pakistani armies near zero line on the LoC.

A defence official said that the primary aim of the forest fire along the LoC is to push small groups of militants into this side. “However, a stepped up vigil was maintained since morning and no movement of militants was observed,” he said.

-ARK